P16(INK4A) represses the paracrine tumor-promoting effects of breast stromal fibroblasts.
ABSTRACT: Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), the most abundant and probably the most active cellular component of breast cancer-associated stroma, promote carcinogenesis through paracrine effects; however, the molecular basis remains elusive. We have shown here that p16(INK4A) expression is reduced in 83% CAFs as compared with their normal adjacent counterparts cancer-free tissues isolated from the same patients. This decrease is mainly due to AUF1-dependent higher turnover of the CDKN2A mRNA in CAFs. Importantly, p16(INK4A) downregulation using specific siRNA activated breast fibroblasts and increased the expression/secretion levels of stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2. Consequently, media conditioned with these cells stimulated the proliferation of epithelial cells. Furthermore, the migration/invasion of breast cancer cells was also enhanced in an SDF-1-dependent manner. This effect was mediated through inducing an epithelial-mesenchymal transition state. By contrast, increase in p16(INK4A) level through ectopic expression or AUF1 downregulation, reduced the secreted levels of SDF-1 and MMP-2 and suppressed the pro-carcinogenic effects of CAFs. In addition, p16(INK4A)-defective fibroblasts accelerated breast tumor xenograft formation and growth rate in mice. Importantly, tumors formed in the presence of p16(INK4A)-defective fibroblasts exhibited higher levels of active Akt, Cox-2, MMP-2 and MMP-9, showing their greater aggressiveness as compared with xenografts formed in the presence of p16(INK4A)-proficient fibroblasts. These results provide the first indication that p16(INK4A) downregulation in breast stromal fibroblasts is an important step toward their activation.
Project description:Activated cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) or myofibroblasts not only facilitate tumor growth and spread but also affect tumor response to therapeutic agents. Therefore, it became clear that efficient therapeutic regimens should also take into account the presence of these supportive cells and inhibit their paracrine effects. To this end, we tested the effect of low concentrations of curcumin, a pharmacologically safe natural product, on patient-derived primary breast CAF cells. We have shown that curcumin treatment upregulates p16(INK4A) and other tumor suppressor proteins while inactivates the JAK2/STAT3 pathway. This reduced the level of alpha-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA) and the migration/invasion abilities of these cells. Furthermore, curcumin suppressed the expression/secretion of stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), MMP-9, and transforming growth factor-?, which impeded their paracrine procarcinogenic potential. Intriguingly, these effects were sustained even after curcumin withdrawal and cell splitting. Therefore, using different markers of senescence [senescence-associated ?-galactosidase (SA-?-gal) activity, Ki-67 and Lamin B1 levels, and bromodeoxyuridine incorporation], we have shown that curcumin markedly suppresses Lamin B1 and triggers DNA damage-independent senescence in proliferating but not quiescent breast stromal fibroblasts. Importantly, this curcumin-related senescence was p16(INK4A)-dependent and occurred with no associated inflammatory secretory phenotype. These results indicate the possible inactivation of cancer-associated myofibroblasts and present the first indication that curcumin can trigger DNA damage-independent and safe senescence in stromal fibroblasts.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The cyclin-D/CDK4,6/p16(INK4a)/pRB/E2F pathway, a key regulator of the critical G1 to S phase transition of the cell cycle, is universally disrupted in human cancer. However, the precise function of the different members of this pathway and their functional interplay are still not well defined. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We have shown here that the tumor suppressor p16(INK4a) protein positively controls the expression of cyclin D1 and E2F1 in both human and mouse cells. p16(INK4a) stabilizes the mRNAs of the corresponding genes through negative regulation of the mRNA decay-promoting AUF1 protein. Immunoprecipitation of AUF1-associated RNAs followed by RT-PCR indicated that endogenous AUF1 binds to the cyclin D1 and E2F1 mRNAs. Furthermore, AUF1 down-regulation increased the expression levels of these genes, while concurrent silencing of AUF1 and p16(INK4a), using specific siRNAs, restored normal expression of both cyclinD1 and E2F1. Besides, we have shown the presence of functional AU-rich elements in the E2F1 3'UTR, which contributed to p16/AUF1-mediated regulation of E2F1 post-transcriptional events in vivo. Importantly, genome-wide gene expression microarray analysis revealed the presence of a large number of genes differentially expressed in a p16(INK4a) -dependent manner, and several of these genes are also members of the AUF1 and E2F1 regulons. We also present evidence that E2F1 mediates p16-dependent regulation of several pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins, and the consequent induction of spontaneous as well as doxorubicin-induced apoptosis. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings show that the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p16( INK4a) is also a modulator of transcription and apoptosis through controlling the expression of two major transcription regulators, AUF1 and E2F1.
Project description:Expression of p16(INK4a) is elevated during ageing and replicative senescence. Here, we report the presence of an instability determinant within the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of the p16 messenger RNA in WI-38 human diploid fibroblasts. The p16 3'UTR was found to be a specific target of AUF1, an RNA-binding protein implicated in promoting mRNA decay. Both AUF1 levels and AUF1-p16 mRNA associations were strikingly more abundant in early-passage than late-passage fibroblast cultures. Moreover, short interfering RNA-based reductions in AUF1 levels increased the stability of p16 3'UTR-containing transcripts, elevated the expression of p16 and accentuated the senescence phenotype. Together, our findings show that p16 mRNA turnover decreases during replicative senescence and that the instability-conferring region is located within the 3'UTR of p16, as well as identifying AUF1 as a critical mediator of these regulatory events.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) have been recently identified in breast carcinoma as CD44+CD24- cells, which exclusively retain tumorigenic activity and display stem cell-like properties. Using a mammosphere culture technique, MCF7 mammosphere cells are found to enrich breast cancer stem-like cells expressing CD44+CD24-. The stromal cells are mainly constituted by fibroblasts within a breast carcinoma, yet little is known of the contributions of the stromal cells to BCSCs. METHODS: Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and normal fibroblasts (NFs) were isolated and identified by immunohistochemistry. MCF7 mammosphere cells were co-cultured with different stromal fibroblasts by a transwell cocultured system. Flow cytometry was used to measure CD44 and CD24 expression status on MCF7. ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) was performed to investigate the production of stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) in mammosphere cultures subject to various treatments. Mammosphere cells were injected with CAFs and NFs to examine the efficiency of tumorigenity in NOD/SCID mice. RESULTS: CAFs derived from breast cancer patients were found to be positive for alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA), exhibiting the traits of myofibroblasts. In addition, CAFs played a central role in promoting the proliferation of CD44+CD24- cells through their ability to secrete SDF-1, which may be mediated to SDF-1/CXCR4 signaling. Moreover, the tumorigenicity of mammosphere cells with CAFs significantly increased as compared to that of mammosphere cells alone or with NFs. CONCLUSION: We for the first time investigated the effects of stromal fibroblasts on CD44+CD24- cells and our findings indicated that breast CAFs contribute to CD44+CD24- cell proliferation through the secretion of SDF-1, and which may be important target for therapeutic approaches.
Project description:Aberrant expression of c-Ski oncoprotein in some tumor cells has been shown to be associated with cancer development. However, the role of c-Ski in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) of tumor microenvironment has not been characterized. In the current study, we found that c-Ski is highly expressed in CAFs derived from breast carcinoma microenvironment and this CAF-associated c-Ski expression is associated with invasion and metastasis of human breast tumors. We showed that c-Ski overexpression in immortalized breast normal fibroblasts (NFs) induces conversion to breast CAFs by repressing p53 and thereby upregulating SDF-1 in NFs. SDF-1 treatment or p53 knockdown in NFs had similar effects on the activation of NFs as c-Ski overexpression. The c-Ski-activated CAFs show increased proliferation, migration, invasion and contraction compared with NFs. Furthermore, c-Ski-activated CAFs facilitated the migration and invasion of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Our data suggest that c-Ski is an important regulator in the activation of CAFs and may serve as a potential therapeutic target to block breast cancer progression.
Project description:There is evidence that normal breast stromal fibroblasts (NBFs) suppress tumour growth, while cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) promote tumourigenesis through functional interactions with tumour cells. Little is known about the biology and the carcinogenic potential of stromal fibroblasts present in histologically normal surgical margins (TCFs). Therefore, we first undertook gene expression analysis on five CAF/TCF pairs from breast cancer patients and three NBF samples (derived from mammoplasties). This comparative analysis revealed variation in gene expression between these three categories of cells, with a TCF-specific gene expression profile. This variability was higher in TCFs than in their paired CAFs and also NBFs. Cytokine arrays show that TCFs have a specific secretory cytokine profile. In addition, stromal fibroblasts from surgical margins expressed high levels of ?-SMA and SDF-1 and exhibited higher migratory/invasiveness abilities. Indirect co-culture showed that TCF cells enhance the proliferation of non-cancerous mammary epithelial cells and the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition of breast cancer cells. Moreover, TCF and CAF cells increased the level of PCNA, MMP-2 and the phosphorylated/activated form of Akt in normal breast luminal fibroblasts in a paracrine manner. Furthermore, TCFs were able to promote the formation and growth of humanized orthotopic breast tumours in nude mice. Interestingly, these TCF phenotypes and the extent of their effects were intermediate between those of NBFs and CAFs. Together, these results indicate that stromal fibroblasts located in non-cancerous tissues exhibit a tumour-promoting phenotype, indicating that their presence post-surgery may play important roles in cancer recurrence.
Project description:The cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors, p18(INK4c) and p16(INK4a), both have the credentials of tumor suppressors in human cancers and mouse models. For p16(INK4a), the underlying rationale is its role in senescence, but the selective force for inactivation of p18(INK4c) in incipient cancer cells is less clear. Here, we show that in human fibroblasts undergoing replicative or oncogene-induced senescence, there is a marked decline in the levels of p18(INK4c) protein and RNA, which mirrors the accumulation of p16(INK4a). Downregulation of INK4c is not dependent on p16(INK4a), and RAS can promote the loss of INK4c without cell-cycle arrest. Downregulation of p18(INK4c) correlates with reduced expression of menin and E2F1 but is unaffected by acute cell-cycle arrest or inactivation of the retinoblastoma protein (pRb). Collectively, our data question the idea that p18(INK4c) acts as a backup for loss of p16(INK4a) and suggest that the apparent activation of p18(INK4c) in some settings represents delayed senescence rather than increased expression. We propose that the contrasting behavior of the two very similar INK4 proteins could reflect their respective roles in senescence versus differentiation.
Project description:p16(INK4a) is a tumor suppressor gene, frequently hypermethylated in breast cancer; this epigenetic silencing of p16(INK4a) occurs early in carcinogenesis. The risk factors and functional consequences of p16(INK4a) methylation are unknown. Alcohol consumption, a breast cancer risk factor, impedes folate metabolism and may thereby alter gene methylation since folate plays a pivotal role in DNA methylation. In a cross-sectional study of 138 women with no history of breast cancer who underwent reduction mammoplasty, we studied breast cancer risk factors, plasma and breast folate concentrations, variation in one-carbon metabolism genes, p16(INK4a) promoter methylation and P16 protein expression. Logistic regression was used to estimate multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). p16(INK4a) methylation was negatively correlated with P16 expression (r = -0.28; P = 0.002). Alcohol consumption was associated with lower breast folate (P = 0.03), higher p16(INK4a) promoter methylation (P = 0.007) and less P16 expression (P = 0.002). Higher breast folate concentrations were associated with lower p16(INK4a) promoter methylation (P = 0.06). Genetic variation in MTRR (rs1801394) and MTHFD1 (rs1950902) was associated with higher p16 (INK4a) promoter methylation (OR = 2.66, 95% CI: 1.11-6.42 and OR = 2.72, 95% CI: 1.12-6.66, respectively), whereas variation in TYMS (rs502396) was associated with less P16 protein expression (OR = 0.22, 95% CI: 0.05-0.99). Given that this is the first study to indicate that alcohol consumption, breast folate and variation in one-carbon metabolism genes are associated with p16(INK4a) promoter methylation and P16 protein expression in healthy tissues; these findings require replication.
Project description:Estrogen plays a role in the processes of tumorigenesis, metastasis, and drug resistance in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer (BC). Whether estrogen contributes to ER-negative BC is unclear. Here, we aimed to investigate whether estrogen could stimulate the secretion of stromal-derived factor-1 (SDF-1?) by cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) to promote the progression of ER-negative BC. We transplanted ER-negative BC cells into ovariectomized mice, which was followed by continuous injection of estrogen, and found that estrogen promoted the tumorigenesis of BC. Furthermore, High levels of SDF-1? and tumor-infiltrating myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) were detected in the estrogen treatment group. Estrogen stimulates secretion of SDF-1? by CAFs extracted from BC patients. Recombinant SDF-1? could recruit MDSCs isolated from bone marrow cells of mice. In addition, the co-culture of CAFs and MDSCs demonstrated that the recruitment of MDSCs was increased when CAFs were exposed to estrogen. Using AMD3100 to block the SDF-1?/CXCR4 axis or gemcitabine to delete MDSCs, we observed that both of these agents could neutralize the effect of estrogen on tumorigenesis. Together, these results suggest that estrogen may promote the progression of ER-negative BC by stimulating CAFs to secrete SDF-1?, which can recruit MDSCs to the tumor microenvironment to exert tumor-promoting effects.
Project description:Fibroblasts turn into cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in the tumour microenvironment. CAFs have recently attracted attention for their function as a regulator of immune cell recruitment and function in addition to their tumour-promoting roles. In this study, we aimed to determine the role of CAFs on monocyte recruitment and macrophage polarization in breast cancer. CAFs, which were α-SMA expressing fibroblasts in contrast to normal fibroblasts (NFs), effectively recruited monocytes. Recruitment of monocytes by CAFs might be mediated by monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) as well as stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) cytokines. CAFs differentiated the recruited monocytes into M2-like macrophages which are capable of exerting their immunosuppressive roles via the PD-1 axis. CAF-educated monocytes exhibited strong immune suppression unlike NF-educated monocytes and enhanced the motility/invasion of breast cancer cells in addition to increasing the expressions of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related genes and vimentin protein in cancer cells. CAF-educated M1 macrophages displayed increased expression of M2 markers and production of anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 in contrast to decreased production of pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-12 compared with control M1 macrophages; suggesting that CAFs were also able to induce the trans-differentiation of M1 macrophages to M2 macrophages. We then investigated the relationship between the infiltration of CAFs and tumour associated macrophages (TAMs) using tissue samples obtained from breast cancer patients. High grade of CAFs significantly correlated with the number of TAMs in human breast cancer tissue samples. It was also associated with higher Ki-67 proliferation index, and higher tumour volume. This result is in line with our finding of increased breast cancer cell proliferation due to the effects of CAF-educated monocytes in vitro. Our results concluded that CAFs play pivotal roles in sculpturing the tumour microenvironment in breast cancer, and therapeutic strategies to reverse the CAF-mediated immunosuppressive microenvironment should be taken into consideration.